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PUNTE CHAME, PANAMA-New urbanism design and sunshine are being united here in Central America as a development group launches the Portones Del Mar Yacht Club & Resort. The 140-acre complex will break ground in early 2008 along one mile of undeveloped Pacific Ocean beachfront.

“There is no finer site in the Americas for a world-class marina surrounded by a resort community offering a lifestyle of the highest quality,” maintains Portones Del Mar SA principal Michael Rama, who is developing the site with colleague Gary Martin and a joint-venture partnership between Panama’s largest contractor, Cocige, and Gates Inc., an award-winning construction firm based in Naples, FL.

Portones Del Mar will have 600 residences ranging from sprawling estate homes to marina-front condominiums and casitas featuring private courtyards and swimming pools. Units will provide vistas of the ocean, mountains and landscaped gardens surrounding the resort. The development’s 200-slip marina can accommodate vessels up to 100 feet in length, plus dry dock storage for 100 boats. The marina will be built on a protected bay accessible to prime marlin fishing spots and several nearby islands.

Arango Architects of Panama is collaborating with master-planning experts EDSA of Fort Lauderdale, FL, to design Portones Del Mar. Several styles are being incorporated into the footprint, including a hybrid of Old San Juan and French style architecture. The goal is to blend the old charm of colonial design with more practical and modern open spaces to take advantage of the climate and natural geography, says Rama. New urbanism elements will be most prevalent in an automobile-free marina village that will serve as the social hub of the resort.

The village will be accessible from any part of the community and will feature a beach club, fitness facility and spa, plus a tennis center to be managed by former Davis Cup champion Cliff Drysdale. Portones Del Mar will also sport a discotheque, retail shops and a variety of casual and fine dining options. Corporate services will include a business center, meeting facilities and video-conferencing capabilities.

Hoping to attract prospects from Europe and North America, the resort will be located about one hour’s drive from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport, which is served by such air carriers as American Airlines, Avianca, Continental, Delta and Iberia. A helipad is also planned to facilitate those seeking quicker access to the airport and other Panamanian destinations. The developers hope to have the resort in operation by the end of the decade.

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